Top to Bottom: Thoughts on all of the Blue Jays pitchers at the All-Star break

I talked earlier this week about the 18 position players who have played for the Blue Jays this season, and, next up, we have the 31 (!!!) guys who have pitched for the team thus far.

The fact that the Blue Jays have used so many different pitchers perfectly sums up what the experience has been for the team in the first half of the season. The pitching staff has been decimated by injuries and the Blue Jays have had to dig deep to find guys to log innings and many of them have been ineffective, hence why Toronto ranks below average in the American League in terms of both starter and bullpen ERA.
Let’s talk about all 31 of these pitchers, how they’ve done, and what we can expect from them in the second half.
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Robbie Ray (1.5 WAR)
I think a lot of people expected Robbie Ray to bounce back from the nightmarish season he had with Arizona in 2020 given his solid results after being traded to the Blue Jays, but I doubt that many predicted he would be the team’s ace coming out of the All-Star break. But here we are.
Ray has been excellent …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

TLN Three Stars: Leafs win in regulation with late goal, but it didn’t count, so Canucks win in OT

This had to be one of the most talked about games going into the game that had absolutely no playoff implications, as the Canucks were playing their first game in almost a month after dealing with one of the COVID variants that went through most of the team. It was going to be interesting to see how the Canucks would handle their first game back from a disease that would probably affect their stamina and endurance, and how the Leafs would respond to that.
Somehow that wasn’t the biggest story of the game, as the Leafs would finally end the power play slump after almost 9 minutes, and Zach Hyman would leave the game early after a knee on knee hit from Alex Edler.
Also Marner might have scored a goal late in regulation to win it, but it just wasn’t quite conclusive enough so it stayed tied, and went to overtime, where Bo Horvat scored his second of the game to win it for the Canucks.
Not David Ayres level embarrassing considering the Leafs were the better team, but it’s still not the best look for the Buds.
Three Stars
3rd Star: Nick Robertson
Robertson got his …

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Author: Scott Maxwell / The Leafs Nation

Ross Atkins says the Blue Jays are open to adding a “super high impact” player. Who might that be?

Last week, Ross Atkins talked to the media about where the organization is headed after the team’s successful 2020 season.

Had this year been normal, the goal would have been for the team to play near-.500 ball and take a step forward towards opening its contention window. The Blue Jays, of course, made the playoffs with a 32-28 record thanks to this year’s expanded post-season format and this young group got a much-needed taste of meaningful, competitive baseball.
So, what’s next? According to Atkins, it looks like the organization is poised to make another major off-season splash.
“I think we are in a position where we could add to this team with talent that is condensed in one player and a super high impact,” Atkins said. “We got to the point last year where we felt like the team was competitive enough to move towards winning, and that was a big part of that decision. We’re going to continue to think about how we can build upon this group, and hopefully it’s both complementary as well as making as making a really high impact.
“We need to think about that not just for 2021, but beyond that …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Doug Ford on 2020 NHL Playoffs in Toronto: “The conversations have started”

In his public address today, Doug Ford talked over some NHL-related items as brought up by Rick Westhead of Toronto’s The Sports Network (TSN).

Here is the interview as I transcribed it.
Interview
Rick Westhead of TSN: The NHL has talked about its candidate cities to be a hub city, and Toronto is one of them, although it wants an exemption to the 14-day quarantine period that all arriving travelers face in coming back to Canada. Do you support giving the NHL an exemption to that 14-day quarantine, and how concerned would you be about the optics of doing that?
Premier Doug Ford: Well I’ve talked to the NHL, like the other Premiers have, and the Federal government, they are currently working with the Federal government, that would fall under their jurisdiction, I’ve talked to the Deputy Prime Minister about that as well, and they’re trying to sort things out. But we have to get the right definition, to the best of all of our abilities, to sit down with them, and would they consider self-isolation, staying in the hotel room, all hopping on the bus, going straight to the game, and …

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Author: Ryan Hobart / The Leafs Nation

Looks like the Leafs have circled back around to trying to move Zaitsev

So we’ve talked about trading Zaitsev for a long time on this site, but sure, as soon as someone with a $40 haircut says it you start paying attention.

After a difficult season, TOR and Nikita Zaitsev are working together to find him a fresh start. He is available and we will see where it goes.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 30, 2019
This isn’t the first time trading Zaitsev has come up. Chris Johnston was reporting that Kyle Dubas was trying to get something done at the trade deadline. There was speculation on this last summer as well, but so far no progress. The fact that the Leafs are in a bit more of dire cap situation and have players they’d prefer to keep over Zaitsev is likely going to force their hand a little more, and if they were expecting a higher return before, maybe the price has dropped.
When looking back on Zaitsev’s season recently, we appreciated him for what he’s been for the Leafs
It was another year of failed stretch passes and declining offense for Zaitsev that didn’t endear him to anyone who wasn’t focused entirely on his xGA/60 Rel TM. Of …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation